Prince Philip, 96, takes his last of­fi­cial bow

The Hamilton Spectator - - CANADA & WORLD - DAN­ICA KIRKA LON­DON —

For over 65 years, he has been the un­wa­ver­ing pres­ence along­side the Queen, the con­sum­mate con­sort and royal rep­re­sen­ta­tive.

On Wed­nes­day Prince Philip, 96, made his 22,219th — and fi­nal — solo pub­lic en­gage­ment, brav­ing heavy rain to meet Royal Marines at Buck­ing­ham Palace.

The royal ap­peared in good spir­its, wav­ing to cheer­ing crowds and jok­ing with the sol­diers, who have com­pleted a 2,678-kilo­me­tre trek to raise money for char­ity.

“You all should be locked up,” he quipped, mak­ing the sol­diers laugh.

Philip an­nounced he was step­ping down from pub­lic du­ties in May. The royal, known for his sense of hu­mour and gaffes, re­cently joked about his big re­tire­ment day, telling celebrity chef Prue Leith: “I’m dis­cov­er­ing what it’s like to be on your last legs.”

Also known as the Duke of Ed­in­burgh, he will still ap­pear at the Queen’s side — from time to time — as the 91-year-old monarch sol­diers on.

Philip is pa­tron, pres­i­dent or a mem­ber of over 780 or­ga­ni­za­tions, with which he will con­tinue to be as­so­ci­ated — but he won’t play an ac­tive role by at­tend­ing en­gage­ments. The Queen sup­ported the de­ci­sion.

Wed­nes­day’s event marks a ma­jor land­mark for the man born Prince Philip of Greece and Den­mark in Corfu on June 10, 1921, to Princess Alice of Bat­ten­berg and Prince An­drew of Greece. Amid the up­heaval of the mil­i­tary coup that over­threw his uncle, King Con­stan­tine, in 1922, the fam­ily fled.

Two years af­ter the the Sec­ond World War ended, Philip mar­ried Princess El­iz­a­beth at West­min­ster Abbey when she was 21 and he was 26. He re­nounced his Greek ti­tle and King Ge­orge VI made him Duke of Ed­in­burgh.

YUI MOK, THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Prince Philip made his fi­nal solo ap­pear­ance in the rain out­side Buck­ing­ham Palace.

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